Hoyer: ‘I don’t know’ if we have the votes to pass a gas tax holiday
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday that it’s not clear whether Democrats in the House have enough votes to pass a suspension of the federal gasoline tax.
“I don’t know whether we have the votes; we haven’t counted,” he told reporters.
Hoyer’s comments come as President Biden is expected to announce support for a gas tax holiday on Wednesday.
Proponents of the measure say it would help bring down sky-high gas prices, while opponents have raised concerns about efficacy and taking the money out of a fund to help the nation’s roads and bridges, which are paid for by the tax.
And while Hoyer, too, has been skeptical of whether the holiday would actually pass savings to consumers, he also said he’d consider Biden’s proposal.
“The president’s made a proposal. I’m going to look at it certainly — sympathetically — in the sense that the president is trying to do what I think is a good objective. … What I’m not sure of is that, in fact, that will have the effect, the intended effect, in terms of the retail price — whether in fact it will save consumers money,” Hoyer said. “We all agree that the price at the pump is hurting working Americans.”
But regardless of whether Hoyer and the rest of House leadership ultimately get behind Biden’s push, a suspension of the gas tax faces an uphill battle in the Senate.
In the upper chamber, Democrats including Sen. Tom Carper (Del.) and swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) have expressed skepticism about the idea. And many Republicans are also coming out against it.
“Suspending the gas tax is nothing more than a knee-jerk political stunt providing minimal relief while blowing a hole in our infrastructure funding,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said in a statement.
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